An Economist Makes the Case for Saving Investigative Journalism

Stanford professor James T. (Jay) Hamilton is a realist. Expensive and ambitious investigative reporting, Hamilton writes, “is underprovided in the market.” Financial pressures have taken thousands of local watchdogs out of the game.

Yet Hamilton argues in his bracing new book, “Democracy’s Detectives,” that hard-nosed application of economic principles supports a guarded optimism about the future of investigative journalism.

He demonstrates that costly six-month and yearlong projects often yield hundredfold benefits to society in the reforms they provoke.

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